Such a change has led to a growing interest in cannabis products across the pharmaceutical industry, as well as the potential investment opportunities that it brings. This means that aside from medicinal use, there is now a evolving industry in respect of legal cannabis-derived products in the UK.
Our advice is crucial to any individual or corporate interested in investing in the industry where recreational cannabis is lawful, as this may expose them to liability under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
Medical Cannabis Legal Expertise
Our team of specialist lawyers is made up of experts from across the firm, who can advise on a variety of legal issues, including;
In November 2018, the UK law was changed to allow specialist doctors to prescribe cannabis. Around the same time Canada legalised recreational cannabis. This change has prompted a growing interest in investment both here and overseas in cannabis derived products.
The main reason for greater activity in this market is the softening regulatory environment worldwide.
Alongside our regulatory and compliance lawyers, we have built a multidisciplinary group focused on the cannabis market and offering expertise in key areas including investment, M&A and commercial alliances; intellectual property (brands, patents and trade secrets); distribution and licencing; marketing and advertising; and employment, among other areas. We can offer strategic and practical legal advice from practitioners who understand the specific sector and the particular challenges it may bring (including reputational issues).
Why the shift?
Founded in 2014, HemPoland was the first company in Poland to obtain a state licence allowing the company to grow hemp and manufacture CBD oil products. HemPoland’s management is comprised of experts in cultivation, oil extraction, and marketing of high-quality organic CBD oil. The company is vertically integrated, with over 1,250 acres of cultivation leveraging third parties, multiple commercial scale extraction units, local distributors in Poland, Austria, Netherlands, Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, Switzerland, Portugal, Ireland, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Lithuania, and Estonia, and e-commerce platform and product sales in over 700 locations. In 2017, the company produced over 32,000 kgs of organic dried flower and 310 kgs of organic CBD oils.
Why does this matter?
Cannabis is now authorised for medicinal use in more than 25 countries, including Canada, Israel, Germany and the UK. Cannabis is proven to be effective in a number of areas of unmet clinical need including the treatment of chronic pain – a market currently experiencing significant challenges as governments, lawmakers and healthcare practitioners respond to the epidemic of abuse and addiction associated with opioids. Another significant treatment area is anxiety, depression and sleep disorders. Cannabis-based products have also been used to treat the nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy and a wide range of conditions associated with inflammation (eg eczema). One of the most high profile areas is the treatment of epilepsy (indeed in June 2018, the FDA approved GW Pharma’s Epidiolex – the first approved drug to contain CBD and one of a category of antiepileptic drugs targeting early onset of the condition). On 17 October 2018, Canada also became the first G7 country to legalise cannabis for recreational use. Interestingly, few traditional players seem interested in exploring commercial production of “joints” or cannabis cigarettes. The most active part of the market so far is for edibles such as ice-cream, sweets, and cookies. There is also growing interest in the potential for products which are infused with cannabis including beverages and beauty and skin-care. Vaporisers are another active segment of the market.